In the Mood for Boudoir?
Posted: Mar 01 2017 | Author: LUX Staff
In January, our newest LUX gal Angela had the unique opportunity to participate in a moody boudoir photo shoot with her friend Ashley. Immensely curious about her experience and what it was like to be in front of the camera in such an intimate setting, we spoke with her and got the inside scoop about the thoughts and process that goes into boudoir.
LUX: Boudoir is an increasingly more popular style of photography that's all about capturing beauty and confidence of the model in a sultry kind of way. What drew you to participate in a photo shoot of this style?
Angela: It actually started with a message my friend sent me that said, “Had a curious thought that I wanted to run past you...”. Moments like that get your mind racing. Did my friend want to gauge my opinion about a particular LUX product? Suggest a spontaneous trip? Nope. Ashley was wondering if I would help her showcase a new moody style of boudoir photography. As a model.
Yeah, that's definitely not the same as asking about makeup! Did you agree to participate right away or did it take some convincing to get you on board for the project?
Though I have some reservations around a) sharing my body and b) feeling truly authentic while posed in front of a camera (numb cheeks from hours of smiling during bridal party photos, anyone?), I instinctively and enthusiastically replied “I’m 100% in!”
As a person who often obsesses over choosing outfits that complement my short but curvy figure, it doesn't seem like something I would jump at. But, what I knew in that moment is that Ashley is a woman of style and grace; a friend whom I can trust and share openly with about anything; and a remarkably fun, engaging, and talented photographer. I knew that whatever else it entailed, I wanted to jump on this opportunity.
That's amazing. What steps did you have to take to prepare for a shoot like this?
As my shoot approached, I realized that I hadn’t yet thought about what I should do in terms of hair, makeup, or outfits. I was thinking, “Crap. What exactly is this moody boudoir concept again? Do I remember how to blow-out my hair? Do I need to buy any new outfits? Can I even do that, after the barrage of holiday expenses?” (This was in January after all.)
Being the responsible and prepared creative that she is, Ashley had a few Pinterest boards at the ready to help convey the style of boudoir that she wanted to create together. As for hair, years of informal training from my hometown bestie, Amber (owner of Adore Salon in Fort McMurray) prepared me for understated and messy girl-on-the-go wavy locks. Finally, as a treat to myself and to help me learn from one of the best (after all, I’m one of the newer team members at LUX), I booked Danielle to do my makeup. With all these resources at the ready and an extensive closet to boot, I’m not quite sure why I had allowed my worries to get to me!
It's almost like your own personal glam squad.
When the day of the shoot arrived, I had just finished a particularly busy work week. At first buzz of my alarm, I wanted to do nothing but throw my phone under the pile of clothing that had accumulated over the week (ugh) and sink back into my slumber. After humouring my doubts and exploring every facet of why boudoir is not for me for nine minutes, the snooze alarm kicked in, and I was faced with a choice. Fortunately and unfortunately, I had made commitments and would have to face a day of treating myself to looking and feeling my best. Funny how sometimes we need those external motivators to justify getting out of bed and seizing the fun day ahead, hey?
Totally, we sometimes need that extra motivation from others. So, describe what your day looked like. I imagine it's a lot more than just getting up and getting your photo taken.
Once I had a cup of coffee, it was easy to head to start my day and head to my makeup appointment with Danielle. She’s an extremely talented artist who also holds that rare ability to visit with a client while her genius brain fires on all cylinders to create a knockout look. I asked questions throughout, curious to learn more about her technique and process, which made the experience extra enjoyable as I love to learn about the science of cosmetics. By the end of the hour, I was stunned to see the sultry, smoky-eyed girl in the mirror and even more impressed that I still recognized myself. Danielle brought out the best version of myself, helping me feel confident by playing to my best features and emphasizing those characteristics.
I went home glowing (literally and figuratively), put on some of my favourite soulful, strong female artist tunes, and relaxed to the music while I styled my hair. I will say that in those few hours I had a few last-minute worries and “Is this really for me?” thoughts, but I successfully left with a suitcase of boudoir outfits and touch-up items, and had the good omen of finding downtown parking just fine.
What was it like actually being in front of the camera?
When Ashley and I started my session, I was a little stiff, carrying tension in my shoulders and jaw. She made sure I was comfortable, used encouraging words and fun music to invite out my personality and playfulness, and snapped away while I slipped into the tenor of my moody boudoir shoot. The more I got out of my head and into the experience, the more beautiful moments we captured. I brought some of my favourite keepsakes and most meaningful jewelry, which Ashley was happy to imaginatively put to use in different shots. We made sure to take some photos focusing in on tattoos that remind me of my resilience and purpose. We visited, giggled, raised a glass, built on each other’s ideas and energy, and had so much FUN!
That sounds incredible.
An odd observation came to mind over the course of our session. Like many women I know, I have a list of perceived flaws that I’ve spent a lifetime taking notice of. The freckle on my lower lip that - time and again - people say to me, "You’ve got something there - maybe chocolate?” My tendency to slouch in order to mask the curves that developed years before most of my female schoolmates showed any pubescent changes. Long-healed scars from an abdominal surgery. I could go on.
Paradoxically, mindfulness and acknowledgment of the presence of these “flaws” allowed me to take a step back from a hyper-awareness of them, and at the same time to experience them more intimately than ever. By engaging in a photo shoot that celebrated my candid, messy, imperfect self, I came to accept and even revel in those imperfections.
Now that you’ve gone through this experience, how do you feel? What will you do with the photos?
It’s been a month, and I’m not yet sure what I’ll do with my boudoir photos. There’s the usual idea of making them a gift to my partner, which I might do at some point; however, that wasn’t the motivation for my shoot, so I’m not exceptionally moved to create a photo gift anytime soon. Or, there’s the practical thought that I needn’t do anything with these images at all, because the shoot took place to help a friend showcase her photography and, therefore, the function is complete.
If I am to be absolutely honest with myself, I know that the most important action I could have possibly taken with my boudoir shoot was inherently fulfilled within the experience. Without even looking at the pictures, I know that exploring my vulnerabilities, building confidence, and practicing self-compassion has already been of the utmost value.
From her photographer, Ashley:
"To me, boudoir photography is not about how much skin you show or the price of your lingerie. It's about being very vulnerable and open about who you are. It's my passion to be able to capture those real moments and remind women that they aren't just beautiful but also fearless, independent, and strong. I love showing the back of my camera to a client during a session and seeing her eyes light up. If that spark of confidence can then encourage her later on when she needs it most, then that, to me, is gold. As women, of all sizes and shapes, it's our job to build each other up rather than tear each other down; to celebrate all of our curves and scars and jiggly bits!"
All images credited to photographer Ashley Green